Through Nick Clegg’s performances in the televised Leaders’ Debates, his party have attracted new interest among both the media and the public. Indeed, some national newspapers have predicted a swing towards the Liberal Democrats at local level, with one or two of the currently hung London Boroughs falling into LibDem hands (‘Cleggmania set to boost Lib Dem vote in local elections’ – The Times, May 4).
And yet, at just the time that Clegg’s party could be making gains everywhere, in many areas they have fielded the same old candidates that voters have been rejecting for years. I understand that in several wards, residents have yet to receive any Liberal Democrat local election communication, and in one area a public meeting to which all parties were invited resulted in only a belated apology for absence from the LibDem candidate. It’s too late now of course, but with the right candidates and a little energy, they could have capitalised on their national media profile.
As someone once said – in politics, timing is everything.